A “Ruff” Case of the Flu

Flu season is in full swing for us pet owners, but it can be “ruff” for our furry friends too. Dog flu, also known as canine influenza (which is caused by H3N8 and H3N2 viruses), affects both dogs and cats and is just as contagious as the influenza we know.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), the canine influenza H3N8 was first identified in Florida in 2004 in racing greyhounds. In 2015, the canine H3N2 strain was detected in dogs in the Chicago area, and a year later, the same strain was found in shelter cats. There is no specific canine influenza season, so it can occur year round.

A black dog laying down on a white bed

So how do you know if your pet has the flu?

For dogs, common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, sneezing, eye and nasal discharge, loss of appetite and fatigue. Poor pups! And cats display similar respiratory symptoms, as well as lip smacking and excessive salivation.

Curious how you can keep your furry friend from catching the flu?

Dogs that visit day care facilities, kennels, groomers and shelters are at high risk of infection. Canine influenza can also be spread indirectly through collars, leashes, food and water bowls. Dogs that are infected with the influenza are most contagious during the two- to four-day virus incubation period and usually recover within two to three weeks. To keep the virus from spreading, it’s important to keep sick pets at home and away from other dogs and cats until they’ve recovered.

Vaccines are available for both strains of the canine influenza but are not recommended for every dog. It might not always prevent the infection, but it does reduce the severity of the illness, just like our own human flu shot. Unfortunately, there is not currently a vaccination for cats.

Wondering what you can do to treat your sick pet?

Our mobile vets at Vet’s Here are on their way! We have all the necessary equipment to help treat your fur baby.

Canine influenza is serious, so if you start noticing flu-like symptoms in your dog or cat, contact our vets for an appointment today. It’s important for a vet to examine them, as these symptoms can be signs of other illnesses too. You can depend on our veterinarians for recommendations and treatment options to keep your pet in good health!

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